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Pakistani Taliban Refuse To Give Up Body Of Pole


KOHAT, Pakistan (Reuters) -- Pakistani Taliban militants have said they would only give up the body of a Polish man they say they beheaded if the government freed captured militants and stopped attacking them.

The militants said on February 7 they had executed the Polish engineer, Piotr Stancza, who they kidnapped in September, because the government had refused to free 60 captured militants before a February 6 deadline.

"We will not hand over the dead body if the government does not accept our demands," a Taliban spokesman, identified only as Mohammed, said by telephone. "Our demands are the same: the release of our 60 men and an end to military operations."

The Taliban spokesman said the militants had videotaped Stancza's execution and would release the tape within 24 hours.

Assaults on foreign aid workers, company employees, and diplomats have increased in Pakistan over the past year, especially in areas near the border with Afghanistan, where government forces are battling the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on February 7 said his government had received "unofficial confirmation" the 42-year-old hostage was dead.

Stancza was kidnapped on September 28 while visiting one of his company's sites near Attock city, about 65 kilometers west of the capital, Islamabad.

Gunmen shot dead his Pakistani driver, bodyguard, and translator before abducting him.

An American heading the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in southwestern province of Baluchistan was taken last week and his driver was shot dead.

Two Chinese telecommunication engineers, two Afghan diplomats, and an Iranian diplomat were kidnapped in northwest Pakistan, though one of the Chinese later escaped.
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